The Ravens added the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year to their quarterback depth chart on Wednesday, with Robert Griffin III now backing up Joe Flacco, who happens to be the Super Bowl MVP from the 2012 season. Time flies quickly and life comes at you fast.
With that in mind, let's fire up the Wayback Machine and dive into the 2012 NFL Draft class and take a look at the impressive class of quarterbacks, a group that has taken odd career turns.
In fact, let's redraft them as if the draft, which happened nearly six years ago, was happening today. That involves knowing everything about them and putting them in their current position. Risk, reward, ceiling, floor and injuries are all baked in.
No-brainer choice at the top of this draft. There is a huge gap, in my opinion, between Wilson and everyone else. He performed at an MVP level last year despite having five oversized matadors blocking for him, no running game and an offensive game plan that involved him taking snaps, spinning in circles a bunch and then trying to make something happen with this legs. The Seahawks spent the offseason blowing up the Legion of Boom, presumably so they can rebuild the roster around Wilson's skillset.
Wilson should have been in the discussion all along for the top of the draft -- he was outstanding at two different schools, playing well in an up-tempo, spread-style system at NC State and then in a pro-style, power-run, play-action system at Wisconsin. Everyone agreed he had the pedigree and the talent and the skillset, but he was just too short. Whoops.
2. Kirk Cousins
The second quarterback taken by the Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft is now the second quarterback off the board in our redraft. Cousins was taken in the fourth round by Washington after they used a ton of picks to move up and get RG3 -- if Mike Shanahan had simply taken Cousins and used those picks (or if Dan Snyder had let him anyway), you have to wonder whether the Shanahans might still be in Washington. Cousins took a while to fully mature, but he showed in 2017 that he can be more than just a guy who is elevated by a system.
Minnesota certainly believes as much, handing Cousins a three-year deal that will pay him $83 million in guaranteed money, a unique contract in that it's fully guaranteed. Cousins battled through two straight seasons of playing under the franchise tag in Washington, fully earned his freedom and cashed out in a big way. The Vikings will be one of the top favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, largely because they added Cousins this offseason.
3. Andrew Luck
The first-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft might very well be at the top of this list in a few months. But we haven't seen Luck throw a football since the 2016 season and the reports about his health have only been mildly encouraging at best. Luck has played at an MVP level during points of his career, but he took too many shots and suffered too many injuries.
The Jared Goff. I can't talk myself into taking any of the other guys below him over Luck.and now are playing chicken with a top pick and the future of Luck's health. As much I've advocated for Indy potentially hitting reboot at the position, I still believe Luck works hard enough and utilizes modern medicine enough to get back on the field and play at a high level. It would be interesting to poll a bunch of GMs and find out whether they would blindly take Luck against someone from a later draft like
Likewise, I think it's unfair to simply bury Tannehill because we haven't seen him in a year. There was a lot of hope that the former ninth-overall pick, who the Redskins thought about taking in 2012, would really blossom into a franchise quarterback. Fun fact: he has the third-most passing touchdowns of any quarterback in this draft class through the 2017 season. (Another fun fact: Mohamed Sanu has the ninth-most passing touchdowns of any player in this draft class.)
Last time we saw Tannehill, he put together a pretty nice little season in his first year under Adam Gase, even if he was averaging his lowest yards-per-game total since his rookie year. Remember, this is a guy who produced back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons in 2014 and 2015. He wasn't always the most accurate deep-ball thrower, but he didn't turn the ball over a ton and looked like someone who was starting to finally turn the corner until he got hurt near the end of 2016 and didn't get it completely fixed, resulting in the full ACL injury during training camp before 2017.
5. Nick Foles
Recency bias will scream at me for not putting Foles higher, and that's fine. He had an incredible run down the stretch for the Eagles, including a Super Bowl victory and a Super Bowl MVP award. He out-dueled Tom Brady on the biggest stage to give Philadelphia its first-ever Super Bowl win. He's a folk hero, and a Philly legend. But he is also the guy who was released by the Rams previously, after the Eagles swapped him to the Rams for Sam Bradford.
Foles is a very high-end backup and would start for several teams and it feels kind of insane to push him down the list after seeing what we saw this postseason. But Foles is a very streaky quarterback with an extremely high ceiling and a shaky floor. If Carson Wentz isn't ready to start the season in 2018, he will probably make me regret this decision.
6. Robert Griffin III
Well this fell off a cliff quickly. Griffin might have been the top choice on this list before the 2012 playoffs began, and maybe even heading into 2013. At the very least he would have been in a cluster of three quarterbacks featuring Luck and Wilson, both of whom had an argument for being the ROY in the 2012 season.
Griffin put together a historical season. He threw for 3,200 yards and ran for 800 yards -- he's still the only player in NFL history to do that and complete 65 percent of his passes in a single season. It feels like a long time ago and the stretch of life from 2012 through 2018 may have made people forget what happened then, but RG3 was ELECTRIC.
His skillset eroded quickly because of injury and concerns about him playing in the pocket; it was viable to buy into what Hue Jackson said when he claimed the Earth shook beneath him after meeting with Griffin. But it was all a charade. Now we wait and see if Griffin can reclaim any of his magic with the Ravens behind Flacco. The odds are not great.
YEESH. Oddly enough, Osweiler is one of only three guys on this list with a Super Bowl ring. And he won some games for the Broncos during that stretch. But in hindsight he was not a great draft pick, going in the second round before a number of these other quarterbacks. You can't teach height.
And for Osweiler that "skill" has paid off handsomely -- he played for the Broncos and left Denver after the Super Bowl run to sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Texans. He was not the answer to their quarterback problem. They were forced to dump him in a trade where they sent a second-round pick to the Browns, just so Cleveland would take Osweiler off their hands.
Now he's in Miami backing up Tannehill. 2012 worlds are colliding.
Jerry Jones claims he spins a beautiful ball, but Weeden might be best known for getting caught underneath a flag during the national anthem of a Browns game. He was part of a first-round duo for the Browns -- one of several actually -- who busted out badly. Cleveland looked like it was rebooting in a big way during the 2012 draft when it landed Trent Richardson and Weeden, only it turned out that was, um, not the case. They are still booting as we speak.
Weeden was a much older prospect, getting drafted at the age of 28. He's 34 right now. He's two years younger than Philip Rivers. Maybe drafting someone with grandkids wasn't a good idea after all.
9. Ryan Lindley
10. B.J. Coleman
All you need to know about Coleman is that he went to the prestigious McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a school that many would say is the greatest high school in the country, with some of the most handsome and smart alumni in the history of schools. He was technically undrafted but I'm gonna squeeze in my alma mater when I can.